A Semester of Goodbyes

The class was full. It had been a long time since every student was in one room at the same time. It was the preliminary presentations for our final year project. I was the third to present. As I bowed my head to go through my project one more time, I got lost in my thoughts.
“This could be the last time I get my colleagues and lecturers attention,” I supposed, letting my mind wander. I motioned to the right and saw my lovely desk-mate Ruth with that engrossed look to her PowerPoint presentation trying to make it better. On my left, was Nerea. A tenacious young lady, a bit nervous but ready to showcase her project watched the proceedings with manifest interest.

“Chelal! Chelal! You are next,” my senior lecturer’s loudly spoken words were intended for my ears.
“It is time,” I whispered as Ruth gave me a tug and asked if I was nervous.

A semester of goodbyes.

My heart is breaking as I remember how it used to be way back in high school. The security we thought we had of a life controlled by our mortal and limited minds, would later appear to be just a dream that we will never know the beauty or pain of its reality.
My friends, where art thou?
The lessons we slept as the teacher went about his duty, either of two reasons: he was boring or we spent the night debating between Ronaldo and Messi – the best of the best. The music we jammed to as we washed our clothes on Saturday and the longing for the next PE lesson to take revenge having already taken a biteful of taunts. The picture we painted of a life outside school, and how close we will be, came crushing with a great thud – a mourning so deep, but not showy.

The 54 day lecturers strike came to an end and I am back for my final semester at The University. Yes, last three months of campus life. I am excited to be honest but do excuse me for not jumping on the table.

I may not see some of my good friends ‘ever’ in my life (not talking of social media).

This could be the last three months I get the pleasure to interact withΒ  – maybe for a very long time – my lunch friends, my walking buddies, my praying amigos, my football peeps, and my study cronies. And, unlike in high school, I will savor each and every moment. The laughter, the time spent, the dreams shared, and the problems we solve in class, I will take them in, slowly and slowly. I will not be petty. I will not be demanding. I will not expect anything in return because – this time – I am ready to say goodbye.

A semester of goodbyes.

Who writes of such? Who writes of partings before it happens? “Oh, don’t! What horrible thing are you mulling in your mind? Put it away from you, for God’s sake!” No, no. That’s not the case. I know at times we shut our minds to a truth that makes us uncomfortable but certain things are out of our control. The string in our lives, being pulled by the Creator Himself may decide the chapter of our years in school has effectively come to a close. And surely, we wouldn’t dare put in, what God left out.
(turns next page)
Do I love it? Maybe not. But do I trust Him? Yes I do.
I know some of my colleagues will move to different countries, different counties. Some will go to different lines of business, others in public service, and a few in ministry. All will form new friends, and majority will be taken up with the cares of life when they behold the beautiful gift of family. I’m included. I’m part of these ‘possible yet certain’ scenarios. But this time, unlike in high school, I am ready to say goodbye.

A semester of goodbyes.

Even with the constant reminder to prepare for the future or analyze the past, I choose to make a personal resolve to live in the present with my head held high and with a spring in my step. I will offer a firm handshake, and a little longer hug. If it is a fist bump, I’ll spice it up with a peace sign as a way of saying goodbye and a form of appreciation mostly in deeds to each and every classmate, student, lecturer, guard, librarian, teammate, cooks – not with an intention to avoid burning bridges but with the aim of decorating the present bridge.

To my super classmates – of the last 5 years – we might not meet again. Wait. It’s not a bad thing. I hope our paths cross each other but even if it doesn’t, allow me to say, “thank you”. Thank you for the laughter and the discussions we shared. Thank you for the football games we played and group presentations we prepared together. Thank you for the love and the rebuke you gave me straight to the chin. Thank you for everything!

Though I don’t understand it, I acknowledge it. As the Psalmist said in Psalm 42:11 (NLT), “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God!… “

As we celebrate Easter this weekend, we are reminded of the freedom we have in Jesus Christ because of the cross, and the resurrection. And one of those freedoms, is that we are free from the fear of tomorrow.

Goodbye

To you, yes you, do not forget to say goodbye.
Goodbye πŸ‘‹

A semester of goodbyes.

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